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This is a bit complicated it seems.

I own Windows Vista Ultimate 64-bit (Retail). It was okay, but around a couple of weeks ago I had some system crash and at that time I decided that I will install Windows 8 as soon as it comes out.

However, because of some problems in Vista, at the time of crash, I installed Windows 7 trial. I had some urgent work to do which I accomplished and then I switched the PC off.

Now I have purchased Windows 8 Pro Upgrade ($40 version). If I go for a clean install, will it be able to install Windows 8 on not-activated Windows 7? During activation, if it asks for Vista serial number, I can provide it.

Or will I first have to install Vista and then only it will allow me to install Windows 8?

Also, I used the Upgrade Assistant to download Windows 8 on my laptop (Windows 7 OEM). Will it work on my above mentioned desktop?

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An upgrade will replace you old license. For example you can upgrade on Windows 8 Release Preview, which tells us that the OS you'll upgrade on does not have to be activated as long as you can provide your previous license(in this case Vista's).

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Technically, it is correct. But it all depends on how the installer sees it. I think I will now take the plunge and do the actual thing rather than talk about it. – Golmaal Oct 27 '12 at 10:01

You cannot be upgraded from an installation of windows that has not been activated. During installation I dont believe that it will ask you for the key previous version of windows (one that is not installed).
You could try upgrading and see what happens, although you might have to reinstall vista Microsoft allows upgrade to windows 8 from licensed copies of windows-xp , vista and windows-7

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Thought so. I just took a chance...if someone here knows a way out. Still, I will try to present my case to MS support. If it doesn't work, I can always go back to Vista and then to 8. – Golmaal Oct 27 '12 at 7:25
The answer is a bit vague and more on the guessing side... – Frankie Oct 27 '12 at 7:25

I feel the best thing is to do a clean install after backing up your files. Upgrade can botch up sometimes. I have seen many cases in the Microsoft forums where people broke their PCs by doing an upgrade

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